Guide to writing history essays



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D. Assessment of essays
It may be useful to you to have a clearer sense of the basic criteria by which history essays are evaluated and how the different grade levels are categorised. As you revise your essay, you might consider the questions and the criteria listed below.
1. Assessment criteria
1.1 Knowledge. This essentially covers the research you have done. Does the essay demonstrate adequate reading? Does it cover the topic with no major or obvious omissions? Does the essay support its argument with sufficient and appropriate evidence? Does it keep a clear focus on the most significant points and develop these in sufficient detail? Is there a good range of sources employed in the footnotes/endnotes and listed in the bibliography?
1.2 Analysis. This essentially deals with your essay’s argument. Do you understand and answer the question asked directly and fully? Have you grasped the key historical issues at stake? Do you show an understanding of the arguments and interpretations of other historians on this topic? Have you evaluated the evidence critically? Does your argument take objections and alternative views into account? In general, do you present a coherent and analytical argument?
1.3 Structure. This essentially deals with the way your essay is organised. Is your argument stated clearly in the introduction? Is there a clear and systematic sense of form of organization to your essay? Have you achieved a good balance between narrative and analysis? Have you successfully supported your general points with appropriate specific evidence? Are the points made in a clear order and effectively linked into a smoothly flowing essay? Does the essay avoid irrelevance or repetition?
1.4 Presentation. This essentially covers the style of your writing and the technical aspects of your submitted work. Have you written in clear and correct English, without too many small errors of spelling, punctuation or grammar? Have you included accurate and correctly formatted references throughout your essay? Have you used quotations correctly? Does it have a proper bibliography? Is the essay of the correct length?


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